According to an investigation conducted by the BBC those who apply for a Blue Badge on the grounds of having a non-visible disability have far lower success rates than those who apply on the grounds of having a visible physical disability. Of the 109 councils that provided full responses to the BBC’s Freedom of Information (FOI) request 80% approved more people with visible physical disabilities than those with non-visible disabilities. In the case of 10 of these councils, the disparity equated to as much as 50 percentage points.
The councils with the largest disparity between approval rates assured the BBC that they had followed government guidance and assisted applicants in providing supporting medical evidence. Around 2.3million disabled people in England have a Blue Badge according to the latest government data. The BBC’s investigation also found that 28,000 Blue Badges were issued to people with non-visible disabilities in the first 12 months of the assessment criteria being changed.
Councillor David Renard, Transport Spokesperson for the Local Government Association, which represents councils’ interests, said: “local authorities wanted to make sure services and communities were as accessible as possible.” DMUK is well aware that the Blue Badge scheme is a crucial lifeline for many people with non-visible disabilities and we stress the need for every council to make sure that their assessment processes are consistently inline with the government guidelines.